Downtown’s two-hour parking limit has become a hassle for some businesses, with the claim it puts a restraint on customers and employees.
Spending more than a couple hours somewhere is necessary for some patrons and employees, despite the two-hour limit. Tattoo shops and hair salons often require clients to sit for multiple hours, unable to move their car. Employees have found it difficult to accommodate parking when working shifts longer than two hours.
Andre Wiggins, owner of MoBettaCutz, a barbershop located on The Square, said he and his employees are often burdened by the time crunch, as MoBettaCutz doesn’t have its own lot for employees and customers to park.
“At least once every day we get a ticket,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins parks on the street every day in front of his barbershop. After a few hours, he moves his car up the street when another spot opens in order to avoid the two-hour limit. However, he still gets ticketed.
“They have this new technology installed and when I move, I still get a ticket,” Wiggins said. “(The police officer) says, “you need to set up an appointment with the judge.””
This license plate recognition technology was implemented in March 2018 to help parking enforcement officers manage downtown parking.
According to the city of San Marcos, LPR takes photographs of cars it detects have been parked for more than two hours and sends the pictures to parking enforcement officers.
Kevin Burke, the economic development and downtown administrator of San Marcos, said the city wanted a technology-driven solution for parking enforcement.
“In San Marcos, what we heard from our community outreach was a desire for enhanced enforcement of our existing on-street time restrictions to provide more available parking by encouraging turnover,” Burke said. “We determined LPR parking enforcement could be a good first step.”
Unlike MoBettaCutz, Mystic Marks Tattoo Co. is able to provide some parking for customers. However, the lot doesn’t supply enough spots for their flow of customers, resulting in patrons relying on street parking.
David Potter, tattoo manager at Mystic Marks Tattoo Co., said the tattoo parlor is lucky to have its own parking lot, as some of their business can go beyond the time limit. Once it gets full, however, walk-in appointments and long sessions can become heavily impacted.
“We have a wide range of customers, so having to stop on an open wound is tough,” Potter said.